By Adeniyi Ogunfowoke
One of the biggest challenges that many Small and Medium Scale Enterprises encounter in emerging economies like Nigeria is access to funding and capital. Majority of them either bootstrap or rely heavily on friends and family members for funding. For the latter, it usually leads to disagreement or dispute, especially when parties involved are not on the same page, and this might eventually lead to the liquidation of the business.
Meanwhile, for SMEs that approach banks for the so-called ‘soft loan’, they may not be able to meet the demands and the many paper works required to successfully secure the loan. Banks generally charge between 5-9 per cent interest rate (and more), for 1-5 years short-to-long term business loans. In Nigeria, you can obtain bank loans as small as N50, 000 and as big as N100 million depending on the scope of your business.
If you eventually get the loan, it may arrive too late and you might need collateral. Interestingly, if you survive the aforementioned, you should be ready for the neck-deep monitoring of your bank to ensure that you deploy the loan judiciously.
Despite this, the government and the private sector are making painstaking efforts to support SMEs. The present government’s TraderMoni through the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) is helping a lot of small businesses in the country by providing them with as little as N10, 000.
Jumia, Nigeria’s No 1 shopping destination is also at the forefront of supporting SMEs. through the Jumia Lending initiative that gives businesses the opportunity to grow and expand by granting them fast and quick working capital. Some of the advantages of Jumia Lending are easy access to working capital, quick registration process, flexible repayment plan within 1-6 months, low-interest rate, no collateral, no hidden or extra charges and free training and support services to help achieve your business goals.
An important caveat to note to qualify for the loan are (1) You must have been selling on Jumia for at least 6 months, (2) Your 6-months average sales revenue on Jumia must be greater than 100,000.00 and (3) 6-months average items sold on Jumia must be greater than 25 items.
What makes Jumia lending and other digital credit companies quite attractive and the cynosure of SMEs is their flexibility. The paper works are not as taxing as that of the banks and you can get a significant amount between 24 and 48 hours. No bank in Nigeria will grant you a loan within this stipulated period without carrying out exhaustive due diligence.
In fact, some banks have taken a cue from the online quick service loan companies as they now offer non-collateral loans. But, not as quick as the digital credit companies. The indisputable truth is that the new wave of digital credit is good for SMEs.
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